This tour takes you through some of the most historic areas in Ireland. From 5000 year old the burial chambers at Newgrange to the mansions built in the Celtic Tiger era!
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The route takes you out of Dublin on quiet back roads through the farm lands that feeds the city to the beautiful and historic Boyne Valley. On roads undiscovered by tourists the route heads north through the spectacular Cooley Mountains to the medieval town of Carlingford. Returning to Dublin through the rich pasture lands of Meath and Kildare the route passes the ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland at Tara.
There is a mixture of hilly and flat roads on this tour. Leaving and approaching Dublin the roads are largely
Day 1 – Malahide Dublin
The tour starts with an overnight stay in this attractive Dublin village.
Day 2 – Malahide to Drogheda – 34 miles/55km
We leave the picturesque seaside village of Malahide following the shores of the swords estuary past flocks of wild birds into the north Dublin market gardens which provide much of the city’s vegetables. Keeping to quiet undiscovered roads you return to the coast passing the towns of Laytown and Bettystown before reaching the river Boyne where you turn east and follow it upstream to the historic town of Drogheda which suffered the wrath of Oliver Cromwell in 1649. The town is a bustling place with plenty of bars and restaurants.
Day 3 – Drogheda to Smarmore – 22 miles/35km
Our route is a short one today but you will need to be up early to give some time to view the wonderful historic sites which are within the first 10km. Leaving Drogheda and continuing up stream next to the majestic Boyne Soon after this you come to the historical highlight of the tour, the Newgrange Burial Chamber. This UNESCO World Heritage site is more than a passage tomb. At over 5000 years old its design, construction and astrological complexity defies comprehension. Heading into the pasture lands with views of the Cooley mountains appearing and disappearing as you travel through drumlin country to our accommodation where you have the possibility of staying in a 14th century castle.
Day 4 – Smarmore to Carlingford – 42 miles/67km
On pleasant, mostly flat roads through rich dairy lands, our route winds its way north through the busy town of Ardee, visiting sleepy villages. We head on to the Cooley peninsula with its stone walls and forest shaded lanes.
We climb to the Long Woman’s grave and descend to the northern side of the peninsula with the spectacular panorama of Carlingford Lough and the Mountains of Mourne sweeping down to the sea (as in the famous song) before you. It is a short ride along the coast to your accommodation in the medieval village of Carlingford.
Day 5 – Rest Day in Carlingford
Carlingford is a wonderful place for a rest day. You will deserve a rest having crossed the ridge the day before. If you are feeling energetic you can hike up on to Slieve Foyle which soars upwards from the village. In the village centre there is an adventure centre which can organise all manner of activities from gentle strolls to high wire, from a quiet paddle in a kayak to abseiling on the mountain. Or you could spend a pleasant day wandering around the villages many historic buildings, punctuating your tour with visits to some of the village’s cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Day 6 – Carlingford to Trim – 34 miles/54km
Our day starts with a transfer to Kingscourt, an unselfconscious midland Irish town. From here you head south to the heritage town of Kells or Ceannus Mor as it is known in Irish. It was here that the Book of Kells, a lavishly illustrated handmade copy of the scriptures penned by monks circa 800 ad, was found.
We travel on through rich farmland on mainly flat roads through the Irish (Gaelic) speaking region of Racthcarin returning to the banks of the Boyne at your overnight stop in the town of Trim. Don’t miss the largely intact 12th century Trim Castle which has featured in several movies.
Day 7 – Trim to Dublin – 34-47 miles/55-75km
Today’s ride is largely flat through stud farms and fertile fields. You leave the Boyne again take in the Hill of Tara a site of historical, mythical and religious significance where 142 kings are said to have ruled from.
Crossing into county Kildare as you approach the valley of the Liffey which runs through the centre of Dublin City. Your final few kilometres are through the Phoenix Park. This is one of the largest city parks in the world. As you ride through you can spot herds of deer within 3km of the city centre. The accommodation tonight is in the city centre so that you have the opportunity to experience the buzz of the vibrant capital city.
There are a number of hills on this route but you have all day to do the cycling. You will be provided with a more comprehensive route description and maps at the start of the tour. There is an option each day for a variety of longer routes. With the exception of the roads in and out of Dublin, the traffic on the route should be quite light. You should however cycle carefully at all times, especially when going downhill or during any rain showers.